In their relative 16 year youth, Red Bull Salzburg have gifted football many things. Top class players like Sadio Mane, Erling Haaland and Naby Keita have all graced the Walz-Siezenheim turf. As too have developing stars like Patson Daka and Hwang Hee Chang for example. Over the years, the club has cemented a growing reputation for polishing hidden gems ready for the global stage. Nowadays, the touchline performance supplements the on-pitch one. The influence of the 33-year-old German coach, football manager, and former defensive player Matthias Jaissle has been turning heads at the helm of the Austrian outfit.
An astute 6’1 centre back, the then 19-year-old became an emerging talent in defence for Die Kraichgauer‘s second side in the Regionalliga. He was also on the fringes of the squads that earned promotion to the 2.Bundesliga as well as the top tier. The defender’s development came steadily and a call up to Germany U21s came in the 08/09 season. His Bundesliga debut came in that season too, against Hannover 96.
However just as things were looking good, the young player suffered one of the worst injuries. In 2009, Jaissle tore his cruciate ligament in his left knee and was side-lined for over a year of recovery. Worse was that when he had recovered, life dealt another massive blow to his career. An Achilles tendon tear, the unwanted icing on a metaphorically abysmal cake – forced retirement at the age of 26.
From player to coach
Jaissle’s set back didn’t tarnish his love for the game. He carried on where many would have struggled and started coaching right away. Finding himself an open door at Leipzig, he took on the role of assistant youth coach as he cut his managerial teeth with the U16s.
Later, he moved to Denmark to work as assistant to Alexander Zorniger at Brondby IF. At the start of the 19/20 season, he excelled further and became U18 coach at the illustrious Red Bull Football Academy. The job that saw Jaissle transition smoothly into the Liefering reserve set up replacing Bo Svenssen in the winter of 2020.
His time in the Austrian second division yielded great results. In 17 games Liefering won 11 with a win percentage of just under 65%. Form was good but not enough, as the reserves just missed out on the title to Blau-Weiss Linz.
Stepping up for Salzburg
The young coach impressed Salzburg and Jaissle emerged as the natural replacement after Jesse Marsch’s departure to Leipzig. He took over this summer having to consider both domestic challenges and the Champions League. However, consistently working within the Salzburg machine, Jaissle presents a familiar dynamic amidst a squad full of young players.
The Salzburg squad average an age of 22.07 years. A talent packed team with Karim Adeyemi, Nicolas Siewald, Brenden Aaronson and Benjamin Sesko among others. Similarly to the aforementioned Haalands and Dakas, these prospects could be snatched up in the coming seasons. That is no different for the young manager. So far, his side have held their own in Europe. They currently top their group two games in, offering fine displays against Sevilla and French champions Lille. Moreover, they are ten points clear in the Austrian Bundesliga.
Considering his meteoric rise, it may be fair to question just how long Matthias Jaissle will stay for in Salzburg? The doors to the Europe’s elite can open fairly quickly for a managerial talent like his. Comparisons come easy to likes of Jesse Marsch and Julian Nagelsmann. However, the set backs in Jaissle’s career will show that whoever he is compared to or whatever path he chooses to take – he will do it his own way. He could be a big name in football management in years to come.